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Smother Play

by David Stevenson


After the great successes of the Blue team, Averelli, Belladonna and Garozzo played in a lot of exhibition matches, sometimes as part of "Omar Sharif's Bridge Circus" [or some such name]. There was one tour, according to Garozzo, which was a riotous success. Everyone came to see them play, and they cheered everything. Garozzo reached 3NT, which requires a finesse against a king: Garozzo finessed, the crowd cheered and clapped: what a wonderful player, he took a finesse!

Eventually Avarelli picked up a balanced 12count. Pass pass to him, he opened 1C, playing Roman Club. After Garozzo's negative 1D, he rebids 1H and this is passed out. Now comes the play. The crowd is restive. Where are the grand slams? How can their idols make game on a triple repeating squeeze if they are in 1H? So, for the first time that day, a hand is played out in total silence.

WestNorth EastSouth
.PassPass 1C
Pass 1D Pass 1H
All Pass...

Board 5
Dealer North
N/S Vul
S 1042
H 8753
D J93
C A83
S KQ873
H 6
D A64
C Q962
[ ] S 95
H AK92
D Q10872
C K4
H QJ104
D K5
C J1075

S7 to SJ, HQ to HK.
S to A. HJ to HA, C from W. D7, 5, A,3.
SK cashed, then a D back to K.
Avarelli now played CA and a C, E winning CK.
After ruffing the DQ, Avarelli then led CJ to West's Queen.
This was the position with West on lead:

S -
H 87
D -
C -
S Q8
H -
D -
C -
[ ] S -
H 92
D -
C -
S -
H 10
D -
C 10

and on the SQ return H9 was smothered

Total silence.

Well, not quite: fortunately there is one person in the room who can recognise a miracle when it happens in front of him. Well played, partner, says Garozzo!!

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